EIFS: A Growing Choice for Energy Efficient Building Systems

For many years, the stucco-like appearance of Exterior Insulating Finish Systems (EIFS) has given commercial buildings high curb appeal, broad design and color flexibility; low maintenance and durability; and increased energy efficiency.

This application is not just reserved for commercial construction however, as homeowners have come to like the clean finish and decorative flexibility EIFS provides.

The added decorative details for his home made possible with the EIFS system add a nice curb appeal.

EIFS is an insulating, decorative and protective finish system for exterior walls that can be installed on any type of construction. It is the only exterior wall covering that insulates and provides weather protection in a selection of shapes, colors, and textures that can replicate almost any architectural style or finish material, or stand by itself as an architectural finish.


The system typically consists of, from exterior to interior:

  • A colour finish coat of stucco, which can be any colour chosen by the end user.
  • A lathe mesh, applied for reinforcement strength as well as to bond the two coats of stucco.
  • A base coat of stucco, which is usually thicker than the finish coating for strength and durability
  • PlastiSpan Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) EFS Insulation, for energy efficiency. Available in various thicknesses to ensure proper thermal resistance or R-Value
  • Approved Adhesive ( consult your Exterior Insulation Finish System Manufacturer’s guidelines)
  • An approved sheathing board or substrate

A Brief History

EIFS was developed in Europe after World War II and was initially used to retrofit masonry walls. EIFS started to be used in North America in the 1960s, and became very popular in the mid- 1970s due to a surge in interest in high energy efficiency wall systems such as EIFS provides. Studies have shown that EIFS can reduce the air infiltration in a wall by as much as 55%, when compared to standard brick or wood construction.

EIFs Around You

With the popularity of Exterior Insulating Finish Systems ever expanding, you may drive by buildings every day on your commute to work, or the very restaurant you a visiting for lunch may have the EIFS system. With it’s tried and true formula for providing energy efficiency (thanks largely to the PlastiSpan EPS insulation component in the system) with a polished finish, EIFS is a great solution for many building exteriors.

Check out this hotel, whose visual exterior details are due to the use of the Exterior Insulating Finish System and the flexibility the PlastiSpan EPS gives the finisher.

Beautifully intricate finish details give this hotel a classy and unique look.

Check back next week as we dig a little deeper into PlastiSpan Insulation as component in Exterior Insulating Finish System.

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